22-year-old horseman dies saving Amarnath pilgrim from falling off a cliff
The 22-year-old from a small village in south Kashmir embraced death on Thursday to prevent an Amarnath pilgrim from falling off a cliff, his relatives said. The yatri was riding a horse when Khan slipped into a crevasse.
“He (Imtiyaz) was walking his horse when he realized the yatri was sleeping. He seemed to fall out of the saddle. He rushed to alert him and shook him. As he tried to wake him up completely, he lost his balance and fell off the cliff,” Nazir Ahmad Khan, his maternal uncle, told News 18 from the village of Chattergul where the family is in deep mourning. He fell 300 feet lower to the shock of his fellow horsemen and pilgrims.
Ghulam Nabi Lone, chairman of pony association, Pahalgam, said Khan tried to rescue the yatri who was dozing on horseback and appeared to be falling. “He woke him up but fell asleep himself – forever,” Lone said, looking upset.
The body of the young rider was recovered with great difficulty by the Jammu and Kashmir Police Mountaineer Rescue Team. Ram Singh, who runs the MRT, said his boys retrieved it from the crevasse by sending men on ropes. “We pulled him out and tried to resuscitate him. We took him to Panchtarni Medical Unit on a stretcher but he couldn’t come,” Singh told News 18.
Relatives and fellow travelers said they took a group of pilgrims from Chandanwari and over the next two days moved through the difficult passes like Pissu Peak, Nagakoti, Mahagunus, Papibal, and Crusader Panchtarni – the last base camp. But near Sangam where the track is slippery and narrow and people have to pass one by one, his luck changed.
“Except for the two years when the pandemic cut off the yatra, this was the third time he had climbed the hills to earn a living,” Nazir said, adding that no one in the village thought he was. could die. “He was a strong boy. How could he die like that? he wondered.
Khan’s death has filled his family with grief and the specter of a bleak future looms on the horizon. Nazir says Khan used to be supportive of his wife, eight-month-old baby, parents and four siblings.
“His father is partially blind and cannot do hard labor. His three sisters are not yet married. How will the family survive now? He asked. He said the burden of the family would likely fall on the Khan’s younger brother – all aged 17.
The family hopes that the government will help as soon as possible. Nazir said the area tehsildar came on Friday and left quickly after offering his condolences. “The family needs quick compensation.”
Naseer Ahmad Parra, tehsildar, Shangus, said he would visit the family later in the day. “Actually, I have a check for one lakh rupees on me. We released on a pro bono basis for next of kin,” he told News 18.
Parra said he didn’t know if the horse and pony owners or the palanquin bearers were not covered by any insurance.
A Pahalgam official said the people who serve the yatris provide exemplary service. “They take care of the pilgrims with care. It’s specialized work,” he said.
Like Khan, many local heroes put their lives on the line to save non-local guests.
Shakeel Ahmad did not care for his own safety and dove into a roaring stream to save a tourist who was drowning in Lake Tarsar near Pahalgam. The young mountaineer who had led expeditions to all the great alpine lakes died young and met his creator.
In 2019, Rouf Ahmad Dar, a 32-year-old rafting guide, gave his life to save a group of people from drowning in the gushing waters of Lidder in Pahalgam.
Similarly, Shikarawala Ghulam Mohammad Gurroo, 55, died saving a group of tourists from drowning in Jhelum in 2016.
The Shri Amarnath Board (SASB) manages all aspects of the yatras like health, hygiene, langars, lodge and pilgrim council. The council is also responsible for the smooth running of the pilgrimage. In the event of natural disasters like the one that occurred last week in which 17 pilgrims died, the council is responsible for the rescue and relief of pilgrims. It also compensates the deceased. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said relatives of deceased pilgrims have received relief of Rs five lakh.
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